Yesterday was a moment of validation. Going into my classroom, with rambunctious 9th grade students, some eager to learn and others desiring to be entertained, can be stressful and tiresome, but yesterday provided an opportunity to observe the diverse levels of intellect and maturity that my lesson can reach. Having already completed the lesson with my 9th grade students, with pleasant success, I knew it was an effective approach to a tedious reading process; my students were attentive, considerate, and productive. Most importantly, what would have taken four days of class time was accomplished in three by using the flipped classroom design.
The flipped classroom concept translated well into the GMU presentation as everyone already had a firm understanding of Blau’s close reading methodology, which allowed me to avoid lecturing. After everyone completed their quick scan of the text for questions, I was able to move through the room and observe group discussions. This moment was particularly validating as each group found questions worthy of discussion, similar to my 9th grade students. Most groups had questions on what Mr. Maloney said, but the more interesting questions were those apart from that central, obvious omission. Why did she not have a stronger emotional reaction? Why was she drinking while pregnant? These are the questions that only come up when students go beyond the surface reading, and typically that only happens when looking at a piece for the second or third time. Having collected my 9th grade student’s annotations after their first and third readings, I was able to see that many only had the surface questions about Mr. Maloney from their first reading, but the other questions were added during the second and third read through. Not only does this validate the lesson, it supports the argument that single readings are not enough to comprehend a seemingly simple work of literature.
The class discussion, following Blau’s design, also played out to my expectations. I was happy to receive supportive comments from my peers and glad to see how the flipped classroom, which was not my focus, became a focal point for some of the conversation.
If anyone is interested in looking at the introductory video please follow the link: http://youtu.be/QP6DhJl5Txs